Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Magazine Thing

English 9 students. Remember that thing that was called The Paris Review assignment? It has been redesigned. It is now called The Magazine Thing. It will have a long life.

Here's why.

My aim. Once a week I'll put up a brief description of a magazine of interest, usually a literary magazine. One that takes submissions from people not their uncle.

For all of you completists, competitors, and obsessive compulsives, try to do the same. Offer a comment at this post about your selected literary magazine and provide a link to its site. Tell us why we must see it and read it now.

You should know that when you make your comment you are reaching an international audience. English with McCabe has a following in Ukraine and Brazil. We are also making inroads into Thailand, Kenya, and the Sino-Russia border. Our first fan club has opened in Toronto.

In my Oprahesque-makeover I happened across Every Writers Resource dot com's Top 50 Llterary Magazines. The Paris Review and the Gettysburg Review are on there. 48 others, too. Here is a Los Angeles literary magazines list.

Posting issues: Having trouble publishing your comment? Become a member of English with McCabe or check your email service to see if it is one of the several they accept before you post on the blog. Or it might be easier to just send me an email cjmccabe@pasadena.ed put The Magazine Thing in the subject field. In the message field tell me what you want to post. Include your full name.

1C: James Hogue, Frank Abagnale, Clark Rockefeller and . . . [1C students: see Rockefeller links to read]

When we discuss The Runner by David Samuels we will we will turn to specific examples from the book.  Here are some questions we might consider.

1. Consider the book's title and the first paragraph of the narrative and note that James Hogue's story is not told in chronological order.  Why do you think Samuels opened his book (with that first paragraph and) with that scene?

2.  We think of liars as the ones telling the lie, but Samuels says Hogue preferred to let "other people do the talking" (4).  Why would this be an important feature of his persona?  Later, Samuels claims, "Hogue didn't care much for telling stories about himself" (36).  What is beginning to emerge regarding Hogue or liars, at least from the point of view of Samuels?

3. David Eckley says that "[Hogue] was a sweetheart, but dangerous in his own way. . . .He just can't seem to come to reality" (5)  Do you agree with Eckley or not?

4. Samuels says that "[Hogue] only fooled people who wanted to be fooled" (6).  This sounds like something Ricky Jay might have said when he was speaking with Errol Morris.  (Find where Jay says this.)  How might Jay's remarks help us understand someone like Hogue?  You may also want to see Samuels's remarks about Dr. Alaia as "a sucker" (24).

5. I am trying to find the reason that Samuels wrote The Runner.  What is his purpose?  See what Samuels says on page 9: "Hogue also did what all liars do, which is to diminish the universal store of truthfulness . . . and establish meaningful connections to others" (9).  Do you think that this is the book's heart, or is it something else?  Explain.

6. "Cindy's habit of telling tall tales is familiar," Samuels writes (13). Why does he tell us this?  

7.  Samuels wonders "Perhaps one reason that James Hogue has held my interest the past ten years is that I still can't figure out exactly what he was up to, at the same time as he reminded me strongly of myself." (14).  Do you see a connection, or a similarity, between the two men?  Explain.   

8.  Let's look at Hogue's family life.  What was his relationship with his sister?  What were his mother's habits?  How do all of these things tell us about Hogue--if anything?

9. Let's stop and take some time with Chapter V. "The Escape Artist."  I think of this as Samuels's "big idea" for the book.  Do you think he is overreaching? Or does he hit the right note and successfully make his story about Hogue serve a larger purpose?  Explain.

10.What is the theme of The Runner?  Offer several examples from the book in support of your position.

11. Is The Runner a story of class consciousness?  Would someone from the upper class engage in the same conduct as Hogue did?  Or to look at this question from another angle: would Hogue have lived his life as he did--falsifying his academic record, his name, and stealing--if he was wealthy?  Explain.

12.  Was Hogue's greatest crime against himself or others?  Or his harm was equal to both?  Explain. 

13.  Samuels identifies with Hogue.  (See question #7, above.)  Does this cause him to lose his objectivity in telling Hogue's story?  Or does it allow him to better explain who Hogue is?

14.  Is The Runner principally a story about one man, that is, Hogue, or is it about the American characteristic of remaking or redefining or self-invention?  Explain.

15. Come up with three questions of your own--not one raised above--about The Runner. Then, each group must come up with three questions that they will put on the board for further discussion. 

And here's the trailer for  Con Man, a film about Hogue. Maybe we should watch it.  What do you think? (An earlier viewer, Gerardo of English 1C, spots news reader Kent Manahan. A tip of the hat to Gerardo for his careful observation.) 

And the trailer for Catch Me if You Can, the film about Frank Abagnale, Jr.:

Can't leave out the opening credits for it:

Anyone find other stories like James Hogue's or Frank Abagnale, Jr.'s out there?  Yes, I did.  I have been following the Christian Karl "Clark Rockefeller" Gerhartsreiter story, a tale much darker than either Hogue's or Abagnale's.  Gerhartsreiter, pictured below, lived in a guest house behind a large home in San Marino and convicted in August 2013 of murdering his landlord, and then burying the body in the backyard.  The whereabouts of the victim's wife is unknown.

[***]1C STUDENTS: Read, Listen & Watch links marked with [***] re: CLARK ROCKEFELLER

"From left: Christian Gerhartsreiter, high-school student, late 70s; Christopher Chichester, U.S.C.-campus denizen, mid-80s; Christopher Crowe, Wall Street executive, late 80s or early 90s; Clark Rockefeller, divorcé and father, 2008. Left, from TZ Munich; second from right, courtesy of Cosgrove/Meurer Productions, Inc.; right, by Essdras M. Suarez/The Boston Globe." -- from Vanity Fair, January 2009

[***]NPR: 30 year Con from German Kid to Rockefeller Scion," July 10, 2011[Radio broadcast is about 10. Listen to the broadcast and read the page.]

Book Review: The Man in the Rockefeller Suit" by Mark Seal. Review by Denise Hamilton.  Los Angeles Times, June 3, 2011

"The Man in the Rockefeller Suit" by Mark Seal. Vanity Fair, January 2009

[***]“Clark Rockefeller” Found Guilty: the Murder Verdict—and What Became of the Victim’s Wife by Mark Seal, Vanity Fair, April 12, 2013

"Rockefeller Impostor gets 27-to-life for San Marino Man's Murder," Los Angeles Times, August 15, 2013

[***]"Exclusive Video: Phony Rockefeller Speaks After Being Sentenced-to-27 Years to Life in Prison," Pasadena Star News, August 15, 2013[INTERVIEW is about 20 minutes. Watch the interview and read the article.]

If you know of other con artists, please post in comments section.  From semesters past, students have learned that Hogue-like stories are not all that unusual.

Ivette Gonzalez kept her eyes on the news with Twitter.  She got news of a story that she wanted us to see.  I'm glad she did.  Sounds like the illustrious James "The Runner" Hogue.

This time it is a basketball player.  Here's the story:

Angela Liu found a similar story about a man who . . . well, just go to this link and find out. [link broken]

Look what Laura Noonan found: "A 33-year-old woman is charged with stealing her daughter's identity to attend high school and join the cheerleading team."  Want to learn more?  Click here.

Mike Tuano wonders, "Now imagine if Hogue was a little more clever, and decided to use his smarts and con-artist specialty to lean towards a more 'financial' gain .  .  .  . He would probably end up being like this guy [Victor Lustig]."  Lustig sold the Eiffel Tower--twice.  Yes, you read that right. Twice. To learn more go to Wikipedia's site on Lustig and Biography's profile of him.

In December 2014 I read about a teenager who said he made $72 million in stock trades. Not true, it turns out.

Anyone want to find more James Hogue wannabees or types or poseurs extraordinaires?  Let the games begin.  Post links in comments.

Monday, January 26, 2015

1A, 1B: Sherman Alexie (b. Oct. 7, 1966)

Sherman Alexie.  Photograph by Mike Urban.

Who is Sherman Alexie? In addition to posing for photographers, he has written novels, essays, and short stories. Go here to read some of his poetry and watch a video (about 6 mins.) with him. Did I say he writes short stories, too. How short?  Six words short. Take a look.  If the link doesn't work, you might need to register at Narrative Magazine.  If you want to learn more about Alexie, go to The New York Times Sherman Alexie page. He did a  "By the Book" Q&A  with the New York Sunday Book Review, November, 7, 2013.  Check out some of these interviews with Alexie: Time, Iowa Review, and The Atlantic.

Did I mention that he has his own website? He does. What about a Twitter account? Yes, again.

Twitter makes you feel young.
 Here's Alexie as martial artist.

Go to this NPR site and see what Alexie has to say about some athletic events and pop cultural moments. Read this interview from The New Yorker with Alexie as he considers his Lone Ranger turning 20. Also, go to the PBS Newshour page on Alexie, where you'll find videos of him being interviewed and reading his poetry. You can also watch this video below; it is an interview (about 40 mins.) he did with Bill Moyers.

Alexie's writing has been honored, but it has also stirred trouble. Check this out: "Frank Sex Talk Gets Sherman Alexie's Book Yanked From Reading List," a story that ran in August 2013. Here's the first paragraph: "It’s not the first time Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian has been scrutinized for its mature themes. This time it’s New York parents saying their sixth graders aren’t ready for the content in the book and have asked that it no longer be required summer reading." Read more at this page. Alexie also takes his sly humor right to Stephen Colbert, as you can see in the video below.

Alexie loves the game.  Find "Where's Sherman?"
 Your prize: "Defending Walt Whitman"

Defending Walt Whitman
by Sherman Alexie

Basketball is like this for young Indian boys, all arms and legs
and serious stomach muscles. Every body is brown!
These are the twentieth-century warriors who will never kill,
although a few sat quietly in the deserts of Kuwait,
waiting for orders to do something, to do something.

God, there is nothing as beautiful as a jumpshot
on a reservation summer basketball court
where the ball is moist with sweat,
and makes a sound when it swishes through the net
that causes Walt Whitman to weep because it is so perfect.

There are veterans of foreign wars here
although their bodies are still dominated
by collarbones and knees, although their bodies still respond
in the ways that bodies are supposed to respond when we are young.
Every body is brown! Look there, that boy can run
up and down this court forever. He can leap for a rebound
with his back arched like a salmon, all meat and bone
synchronized, magnetic, as if the court were a river,
as if the rim were a dam, as if the air were a ladder
leading the Indian boy toward home.

Some of the Indian boys still wear their military hair cuts
while a few have let their hair grow back.
It will never be the same as it was before!
One Indian boy has never cut his hair, not once, and he braids it
into wild patterns that do not measure anything.
He is just a boy with too much time on his hands.
Look at him. He wants to play this game in bare feet.
God, the sun is so bright! There is no place like this.
Walt Whitman stretches his calf muscles
on the sidelines. He has the next game.
His huge beard is ridiculous on the reservation.
Some body throws a crazy pass and Walt Whitman catches it
with quick hands. He brings the ball close to his nose
and breathes in all of its smells: leather, brown skin, sweat,
black hair, burning oil, twisted ankle, long drink of warm water,
gunpowder, pine tree. Walt Whitman squeezes the ball tightly.
He wants to run. He hardly has the patience to wait for his turn.
"What's the score?" he asks. He asks, "What's the score?"

Basketball is like this for Walt Whitman. He watches these Indian boys
as if they were the last bodies on earth. Every body is brown!
Walt Whitman shakes because he believes in God.
Walt Whitman dreams of the Indian boy who will defend him,
trapping him in the corner, all flailing arms and legs
and legendary stomach muscles. Walt Whitman shakes
because he believes in God. Walt Whitman dreams
of the first jumpshot he will take, the ball arcing clumsily
from his fingers, striking the rim so hard that it sparks.
Walt Whitman shakes because he believes in God.
Walt Whitman closes his eyes. He is a small man and his beard
is ludicrous on the reservation, absolutely insane.
His beard makes the Indian boys righteously laugh. His beard
frightens the smallest Indian boys. His beard tickles the skin
of the Indian boys who dribble past him. His beard, his beard!

God, there is beauty in every body. Walt Whitman stands
at center court while the Indian boys run from basket to basket.
Walt Whitman cannot tell the difference between
offense and defense. He does not care if he touches the ball.
Half of the Indian boys wear t-shirts damp with sweat
and the other half are bareback, skin slick and shiny.
There is no place like this. Walt Whitman smiles.
Walt Whitman shakes. This game belongs to him.

Alexie talks about basketball in these two great videos, below. Watch whether you are a fan of the game or not. 

Let's say you're not a basketball fan, if that's possible.  And you're trying to figure out what's this thing called the "pick and roll" that Alexie mentions. You can't do much better than to get your lesson from the great Larry Bird and his fellow Celtics. Or if you have a problem with the Celtics (if that's possible) and the old school shorts, watch this video about "the best play in basketball," says Coach P.J. Carlesimo.

What else has Alexie been up to? He gave an interview to The Atlantic, that ran Oct. 16, 2013. It appears under the inviting title, "The Poem That Made Sherman Alexie Want to 'Drop Everything and Be a Poet.'"  You might wish to do the same. Read the poem, that is. The poem by Adrian C. Louis has a line, "reservation of his mind," that gave Alexie the confidence to embark on a life far from where he grew up, geographically and artistically. So, read the interview, too. And the poem by Louis, below. I insist.

Elegy for the Forgotten Oldsmobile

July 4th and all is Hell.
Outside my shuttered breath the streets bubble
with flame-loined kids in designer jeans
looking for people to rape or razor.
A madman covered with running sores
is on the street corner singing:
O beautiful for spacious skies…
This landscape is far too convenient
to be either real or metaphor.
In an alley behind a 7-11
a Black pimp dressed in Harris tweed
preaches fidelity to two pimply whores
whose skin is white though they aren’t quite.
And crosstown in the sane precincts
of Brown University where I added rage
to Cliff Notes and got two degrees
bearded scientists are stringing words
outside the language inside the guts of atoms
and I don’t know why I’ve come back to visit.

O Uncle Adrian! I’m in the reservation of my mind.
Chicken bones in a cardboard casket
meditate upon the linoleum floor.
Outside my flophouse door stewed
and sinister winos snore in a tragic chorus.

The snowstorm t.v. in the lobby’s their mother.
Outside my window on the jumper’s ledge
ice wraiths shiver and coat my last cans of Bud
though this is summer I don’t know why or where
the souls of Indian sinners fly.
Uncle Adrian, you died last week—cirrhosis.
I still have the photo of you in your Lovelock
letterman’s jacket—two white girls on your arms—
first team All-State halfback in ’45, ’46.

But nothing is static. I am in the reservation of
my mind. Embarrassed moths unravel my shorts
thread by thread asserting insectival lust.
I’m a naked locoweed in a city scene.
What are my options? Why am I back in this city?
When I sing of the American night my lungs billow
Camels astride hacking appeals for cessation.
My mother’s zippo inscribed: “Stewart Indian School—1941”
explodes in my hand in elegy to Dresden Antietam
and Wounded Knee and finally I have come to see
this mad fag nation is dying.
Our ancestors’ murderer is finally dying and I guess
I should be happy and dance with the spirit or project
my regret to my long-lost high school honey
but history has carried me to a place
where she has a daughter older than we were
when we first shared flesh.

She is the one who could not marry me
because of the dark-skin ways in my blood.
Love like that needs no elegy but because
of the baked-prick possibility of the flame lakes of Hell
I will give one last supper and sacrament
to the dying beast of need disguised as love
on deathrow inside my ribcage.
I have not forgotten the years of midnight hunger
when I could see how the past had guided me
and I cried and held the pillow, muddled
in the melodrama of the quite immature
but anyway, Uncle Adrian…
Here I am in the reservation of my mind
and silence settles forever
the vacancy of this cheap city room.
In the wine darkness my cigarette coal
tints my face with Geronimo’s rage
and I’m in the dry hills with a Winchester
waiting to shoot the lean, learned fools
who taught me to live-think in English.

Uncle Adrian…
to make a long night story short,
you promised to give me your Oldsmobile in 1962.
How come you didn’t?
I could have had some really good times in high school.

1B: Gabriel Garcia Marquez (1928-2014)

"Gabriel José García Márquez was born on March 6, 1928 in Aracataca, a town in Northern Colombia, where he was raised by his maternal grandparents in a house filled with countless aunts and the rumors of ghosts. But in order to get a better grasp on García Márquez's life, it helps to understand something first about both the history of Colombia and the unusual background of his family."-- from the website Macondo

The death of the great Colombian novelist Gabriel José García Márquez was reported by The New York Times on April 17, 2014. He was 87.

For more information about García Márquez visit Macondo, an excellent website on Garcia Marquez; Macondo is also the name of the writer's fictional town in One Hundred Years of Solitude, a seminal novel work in Magical Realism and world literature. Garcia Marquez won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1982 for his body of work.  Go to his Nobel Prize page to learn more about him. Here is an interview that the Paris Review conducted with Garcia Marquez in 1981. In an excerpt from it, he talks about his literary education;

How did you start writing?
By drawing. By drawing cartoons. Before I could read or write I used to draw comics at school and at home. The funny thing is that I now realize that when I was in high school I had the reputation of being a writer, though I never in fact wrote anything. If there was a pamphlet to be written or a letter of petition, I was the one to do it because I was supposedly the writer. When I entered college I happened to have a very good literary background in general, considerably above the average of my friends. At the university in Bogotá, I started making new friends and acquaintances, who introduced me to contemporary writers. One night a friend lent me a book of short stories by Franz Kafka. I went back to the pension where I was staying and began to read The Metamorphosis. The first line almost knocked me off the bed. I was so surprised. The first line reads, “As Gregor Samsa awoke that morning from uneasy dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect. . . .” When I read the line I thought to myself that I didn’t know anyone was allowed to write things like that. If I had known, I would have started writing a long time ago. So I immediately started writing short stories. They are totally intellectual short stories because I was writing them on the basis of my literary experience and had not yet found the link between literature and life. The stories were published in the literary supplement of the newspaper El Espectador in Bogotá and they did have a certain success at the time—probably because nobody in Colombia was writing intellectual short stories. What was being written then was mostly about life in the countryside and social life. When I wrote my first short stories I was told they had Joycean influences.
Had you read Joyce at that time?
I had never read Joyce, so I started reading Ulysses. I read it in the only Spanish edition available. Since then, after having read Ulysses in English as well as a very good French translation, I can see that the original Spanish translation was very bad. But I did learn something that was to be very useful to me in my future writing—the technique of the interior monologue. I later found this in Virginia Woolf, and I like the way she uses it better than Joyce. Although I later realized that the person who invented this interior monologue was the anonymous writer of the Lazarillo de Tormes.
Can you name some of your early influences?
The people who really helped me to get rid of my intellectual attitude towards the short story were the writers of the American Lost Generation. I realized that their literature had a relationship with life that my short stories didn’t. And then an event took place which was very important with respect to this attitude. It was the Bogotazo, on the ninth of April, 1948, when a political leader, Gaitan, was shot and the people of Bogotá went raving mad in the streets. I was in my pension ready to have lunch when I heard the news. I ran towards the place, but Gaitan had just been put into a taxi and was being taken to a hospital. On my way back to the pension, the people had already taken to the streets and they were demonstrating, looting stores and burning buildings. I joined them. That afternoon and evening, I became aware of the kind of country I was living in, and how little my short stories had to do with any of that. When I was later forced to go back to Barranquilla on the Caribbean, where I had spent my childhood, I realized that that was the type of life I had lived, knew, and wanted to write about.
Around 1950 or ’51 another event happened that influenced my literary tendencies. My mother asked me to accompany her to Aracataca, where I was born, and to sell the house where I spent my first years. When I got there it was at first quite shocking because I was now twenty-two and hadn’t been there since the age of eight. Nothing had really changed, but I felt that I wasn’t really looking at the village, but I was experiencing it as if I were reading it. It was as if everything I saw had already been written, and all I had to do was to sit down and copy what was already there and what I was just reading. For all practical purposes everything had evolved into literature: the houses, the people, and the memories. I’m not sure whether I had already read Faulkner or not, but I know now that only a technique like Faulkner’s could have enabled me to write down what I was seeing. The atmosphere, the decadence, the heat in the village were roughly the same as what I had felt in Faulkner. It was a banana-plantation region inhabited by a lot of Americans from the fruit companies which gave it the same sort of atmosphere I had found in the writers of the Deep South. Critics have spoken of the literary influence of Faulkner, but I see it as a coincidence: I had simply found material that had to be dealt with in the same way that Faulkner had   treated similar material.

GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ and Magical Realism For information re: magical realism, see J. Kip Wheeler's webpage of literary terms; if this link does not work I have a link to Wheeler's webpage under the On Writing section on the  right side of the blog; look for Literary Terms by Dr. L. Kip Wheeler, and follow the links to magical realism. Also, I invite you to read about narrator, epiphany and motif at Wheeler's site.

Salman Rushdie's Magic in the Service of Truth: Gabriel García Márquez’s Work Was Rooted in the Real appeared in The New York Times, April 21, 2014. Rushdie argues that writers like García Márquez show how "imagination is used to enrich reality, not to escape from it."   He is concerned that "[t]he trouble with the term 'magic realism,' el realismo mágico, is that when people say or hear it they are really hearing or saying only half of it, 'magic,' without paying attention to the other half, 'realism.' But if magic realism were just magic, it wouldn’t matter. It would be mere whimsy — writing in which, because anything can happen, nothing has effect. It’s because the magic in magic realism has deep roots in the real, because it grows out of the real and illuminates it in beautiful and unexpected ways, that it works."

The first 11 minutes of the
 documentary Garcia Marquez: A Witch Writing
If the video is not appearing, try this link.

"The book that spoke to me [when Boyle was probably in his early 20s] was imagined by my enduring hero, Gabriel García Márquez, and it is One Hundred Years of Solitude. Many before me have spoken of its magisterial blend of magic, humor, and history, so I will let all that slide and address one of García Márquez's short stories that appeared around that time in the New American Review, "A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings." This is the story of a decrepit angel coming for a sick child in a storm on the Caribbean coast of Cólombia. The storm drives him down out of the sky to land in a very unangelic heap in the backyard of the child's parents, where he is confined in a chicken house, amongst the other winged and feathered creatures. The story is a sly (and yes, wicked) satire of the forms and strictures of the Catholic church, and it places the miraculous in the context of the ordinary--again, just as in real life. And oh yes, when I think of that story and that book, I can't help recalling the doggy smell of the stone gatehouse--we had three magnificent and magnificently stinking dogs at the time--and of the great leaping blazes we would build nightly in the old fireplace to keep the frost at bay." (from an page republished on Reinhard Dhonat's site devoted to Boyle.)

The house in Aracataca, Colombia where
Garcia Marquez, aka Gabo, 
was born in 1928.
 (El Espectador; with thanks to Sean Dolan)

from the Paris Review interview with García Márquez, 1981:

Can you name some of your early influences?
. . . . Around 1950 or ’51 another event happened that influenced my literary tendencies. My mother asked me to accompany her to Aracataca, where I was born, and to sell the house where I spent my first years. When I got there it was at first quite shocking because I was now twenty-two and hadn’t been there since the age of eight. Nothing had really changed, but I felt that I wasn’t really looking at the village, but I was experiencing it as if I were reading it. It was as if everything I saw had already been written, and all I had to do was to sit down and copy what was already there and what I was just reading. For all practical purposes everything had evolved into literature: the houses, the people, and the memories. I’m not sure whether I had already read Faulkner or not, but I know now that only a technique like Faulkner’s could have enabled me to write down what I was seeing. The atmosphere, the decadence, the heat in the village were roughly the same as what I had felt in Faulkner. It was a banana-plantation region inhabited by a lot of Americans from the fruit companies which gave it the same sort of atmosphere I had found in the writers of the Deep South. Critics have spoken of the literary influence of Faulkner, but I see it as a coincidence: I had simply found material that had to be dealt with in the same way that Faulkner had treated similar material.
From that trip to the village I came back to write Leaf Storm, my first novel. What really happened to me in that trip to Aracataca was that I realized that everything that had occurred in my childhood had a literary value that I was only now appreciating. From the moment I wrote Leaf Storm I realized I wanted to be a writer and that nobody could stop me and that the only thing left for me to do was to try to be the best writer in the world. That was in 1953, but it wasn’t until 1967 that I got my first royalties after having written five of my eight books.
Do you think that it’s common for young writers to deny the worth of their own childhoods and experiences and to intellectualize as you did initially?
No, the process usually takes place the other way around, but if I had to give a young writer some advice I would say to write about something that has happened to him; it’s always easy to tell whether a writer is writing about something that has happened to him or something he has read or been told. Pablo Neruda has a line in a poem that says “God help me from inventing when I sing.” It always amuses me that the biggest praise for my work comes for the imagination, while the truth is that there’s not a single line in all my work that does not have a basis in reality. The problem is that Caribbean reality resembles the wildest imagination.
From that trip to the village I came back to write Leaf Storm, my first novel. What really happened to me in that trip to Aracataca was that I realized that everything that had occurred in my childhood had a literary value that I was only now appreciating.

GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ in The New Yorker
The New Yorker has published numerous stories by García Márquez and a profile of him.  Here is the magazine's post with links.


William Kennedy's interview with García Márquez. It appeared in The Atlantic, January 1973 under the title, "The Yellow Trolley Car in Barcelona, and Other Visions."

The New York Times, April 17, 2014 has an extensive report on his life and death.  Many other news outlets around the world, including the Los Angeles Times, CNNTime, The Guardian, and The New Yorker declare his importance.

GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ  Farewell Letter
The infamous "farewell letter" attributed to García Márquez is a fake. He didn't write it. It was reprinted many times.  If you wish to read it, click on this link.

Taken in 1982, Paris. Gabriel García Márquez with his son Gonzalo
 and wife Mercedes a short time prior to winning the Nobel Prize. (Gamma-Liaison)

One Hundred Years of Solitude has been translated into nearly 40 languages.
 Here is a small selection of book covers for the novel.

1A & 1B: Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961)

Hemingway Passport Photo, 1923

The New York Times has posted their extensive collection of Ernest Hemingway articles. You'll find links to his life story, book reviews, author commentaries, interviews and audio recordings.

Here's the first paragraph of a July 11, 1999 article summarizing his life:

Hemingway in Our Times

On October 18, 1925, an American writer, not yet turned twenty-six, was first reviewed in The New York Times, whose anonymous critic called his short stories "lean, pleasing, with tough resilience," "fibrous," "athletic," "fresh," "hard," and "clean," almost as if an athlete, not a book, was being reviewed. Hemingway had that effect on reviewers and readers alike. His prose style was dramatically different, demanding equally new ways of describing it. Not more than a handful of the newspaper's readers likely knew the Hemingway name, but the review of "In Our Time" could not have been more propitious.

The above article continues here.

PBS American Masters presents a timeline of Hemingway's life. Another PBS page, this one for Michael Palin's "Hemingway Adventures," is a great place to start to learn about Hemingway. Palin, a formerly of the English comedy group, Monty Python, can be seen here on his "Hemingway Adventures," or search Michael Palin and Hemingway at YouTube

Hemingway was interviewed by the Paris Review for its Spring 1958 issue.  Conducted by editor George Plimpton, Hemingway talks about his writing methods and theories.  

Hemingway wrote often about war. Read "Hemingway on War and Its Aftermath" for a good overview of the topic.  You can find it here.

The copy of In Our Time, above, reports bookseller The Manhattan Rare Book Company, "is a FIRST EDITION, one of only 170 numbered copies, printed on Rives hand-made paper, of Hemingway's second book. With woodcut portrait  frontispiece after Henry Strater."

Published in "Paris [by]: Three Mountains Press, 1924. Tall octavo, original publisher's decorated tan paper boards; custom cloth box. Bookplate on front pastedown. A few spots of rubbing to spine, one corner lightly bumped; boards a little bowed; usual discoloration to endpapers. A very nice copy. $36,500."

It gets better.  As of October 8, 2014, Abe Books was listing a first edition copy of In Our Time for $75,000. 

Yes,  you read that right.  It is not a typo.  $75,000.  The lesson: don't sell your books back to the bookstore.  Unless they are giving you a very good price.

Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn

HBO premiered Hemingway and Gellhorn, with Clive Owen and Nicole Kidman, on May 28th, 2012. (It was not a hit with the critics.) Hemingway and Gellhorn met in 1936 and were married from 1940-45.  Gellhorn was a distinguished writer and among the most  important correspondents of the 20th Century, reporting on the Spanish Civil War (alongside Hemingway), the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp, and the Vietnam and the Arab-Israeli wars.  Here's the trailer for the film:


Hemingway's Literary and Artistic Influences

James Joyce
from The New York Times, July 6, 1961, Ernest Hemingway speaks of James Joyce, one of the greatest writers of the 20th Century:

"Hemingway was quick to see the merit in the work of James Joyce. . . . In a letter to Sherwood Anderson dated March 9, 1922, Hemingway wrote:

"'Joyce has written a most goddam wonderful book (Ulysses) * * *. Meantime the report is that he and all his family are starving, but you can find the whole Celtic crew of them in Michaud,' (then a moderately expensive Paris eating place).

"Nevertheless, on several occasions Hemingway contributed to the funds raised to aid Joyce, with whom he did a considerable amount of stout drinking in Paris. When Joyce's "Ulysses" was pirated in the United States Hemingway was one of the organizers of the protest which bore the names of many of the most distinguished figures in world literature."

You can read James Joyce's Ulysses here.  It was published in 1922 to much acclaim and controversy.  Regarding the latter, some thought it to be a "dirty book."  Finnegans Wake, a novel that Joyce worked on from 1922 until its publication in 1939, is far more experimental.  Read it here.

"Portrait of Gertrude Stein"
 by Picasso (1906)

Hemingway was influenced by many writers and artists early in his career, among them Gertrude Stein, who was known for her literary and artistic salon in Paris after World War I.  Dennis Ryan examines Stein's influence on Hemingway's early career--she critiqued his prose--in his article "Dating Hemingway's Early Style/Parsing Gertrude Stein's Modernism".  Stein was a fierce experimentalist, and you can read a sample of her work here.

Hemingway wrote about his time in Paris in his nonfiction account, A Moveable Feast.  Alfred Kazin's essay, "Hemingway as his Own Fable," from The Atlantic, June 1964, reviews Hemingway's book and offers some insight to his autobiographical impulses as seen in his prose.
Cezanne's "Mont Sainte-Victoire
 Seen from Les Lauves" (1904-06)
Artists like Paul Cezanne were also important models for Hemingway, who claimed that he made repeated visits to museum galleries to see how the post-Impressionist captured the landscape. While in Paris during the 1920s, Hemingway also came to know Pablo Picasso and would later make a film about The Spanish Civil War, the subject of Picasso's famous "Guernica".

Picasso's "Guernica" (1937)
 portrays the destruction of Guernica, Spain
 by German and Italian bombers during the Spanish Civil War

Hemingway filming The Spanish Earth (1937),
the story of Spain's Republican resistance
 of fascist Gen. Francisco Franco,
 who had the support of Nazi Germany and Italy.
Written with John Dos Passos,
 Hemingway also served as the film's narrator.

The Spanish Earth is a 55 minute film. You can watch it above.

The "real" Hemingway, as he is presented
 in Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris."

More "real" Hemingway
 from "Midnight in Paris."

There is nothing to writing.  All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.

--Ernest Hemingway